The COVID-19 pandemic offers an unprecedented opportunity to examine federalism in action. To better understand the strengths and vulnerabilities of the intergovernmental responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Academy of Public Administration convened the COVID-19 Working Group on the Intergovernmental Dimensions of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Spring of 2021. The Working Group developed actionable recommendations in four areas that may facilitate the nation’s response to this pandemic and future pandemics: testing for COVID-19; non-pharmaceutical interventions for infection risk reduction, vaccine distribution, and cross-cutting over-arching issues.
The Working Group’s report offers an independent perspective on how well the intergovernmental public health and human service systems and our decentralized and distributed governance structure protected and provided for the general welfare of the populace. The Working Group provides over three dozen recommendations that provide a starting point for evaluating the response to a major public health crisis and improving responses to future pandemics.
The discussion allowed us to hear from the co-chairs of the Working Group, Dr. Ken Kizer and Prof. Rich Callahan, and some of the Working Group members, Dr. Georges Benjamin, Dr. John Kirlin, and Lauren Larson, about the findings of their report.